Friday, October 3, 2008


Johnny Robinson
6'1" 205 Strong Safety/ Running Back
Kansas City Chiefs
1960 - 1971
12 Seasons
164 Games Played
57 Interceptions
77 Receptions
1, 886 Total Yards Offense
18 Total Touchdowns
8 Pro Bowls

Johnny Nolan Robinson was a 1st round pick of the Detroit Lions in 1960. He was the 3rd player picked overall. He opted to go to the fledgling American Football League, where he was a territorial pick of the Dallas Texans. He went to college at LSU, where he was a Running Back. He earned first-team All-SEC honors in 1958 and second-team All-SEC honors in 1959. He was a member of the 1958 team that won the national championship.. In his 3 years of playing, Robinson rushed for 893 yards at a 4.65 YPC average. He also caught 36 passes in his collegiate career, and scored 14 touchdowns. He is a member of the LSU Hall of Fame, and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

Under Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram, Robinson started his pro football career as a Halfback. He rushed for 458 yards in his rookie year at an average of 4.7 YPC. He also caught 41 passes for 611 yards, accruing an impressive 14.9 YPC average. Robinson also returned 14 punts for 207 yards at an outstanding 14.8 YPR average. Robinson also returned 3 kickoffs for 54 yards. He scored 4 touchdowns rushing, 4 touchdowns receiving, and returned 1 punt for a score. He threw the only pass of his pro career that year too, but it was intercepted. In 1961, Robinson rushed the ball less. He had 52 carries for 200 yards and scored twice via the run. He did catch 35 passes for 601 yards, which is an exceptional YPC average of 17.2. He caught 5 touchdowns that year as well. He only returned 2 punts that year, and would only be asked to return 4 more his entire career.

In 1962, Robinson was moved to Strong Safety on defense by Stram. It turned out to be a great move for the Texans. Though he did catch the last pass of his career on offense for 16 yards, he also picked off 4 passes. The Texans moved to Kansas City after that season and were renamed the Chiefs. Robinson had 3 interceptions in 1963, then 2 interceptions the following year, in 1964. In 1965, Robinson picked off 5 passes and returned them for 99 yards. 1966 was one of Robinson's best years. He set a career high in interceptions with 10, and returned them for 136 yards, while scoring the only defensive touchdown of his career via an interception. He helped lead the Chiefs to the first Super Bowl ever against the Green Bay Packers. Robinson followed that with 5 interceptions in 1967. In 1968, he picked off 6 passes. In 1969, Robinson set a career high with 158 yards off of 8 interceptions. The Chiefs would go on to beat the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV. Robinson would intercept a pass and recover a fumble that game while playing with broken ribs, which helped keep the Vikings from scoring more than 7 points. Robinson then had a great year in 1970, when the AFL merged with the NFL. He tied his career high with 10 interceptions. He also had 155 interception return yards. He took a fumble 46 yards for the last touchdown of his professional career. In 1971, Robinson had 4 interceptions. His last game came on Christmas Day, when the Chiefs and Miami Dolphins played the the longest game in NFL history. It was also the Chiefs' last game in Municipal Stadium. Robinson retired during the off season.

Johnny Robinson hold the Chiefs franchise record for a Safety with 57 interceptions for his career. He ranks second overall in interceptions behind Hall of Fame Cornerback Emmitt Thomas in Chiefs history. He is still ranked 10th All Time in NFL history in career interceptions, tied with 4 other players. His 43 interceptions in the AFL ranks 3rd All Time in the leagues history. He led his team in interceptions 5 times in his career. He is a member of the All-time All-AFL Team and one of only twenty players who were in the AFL for its entire ten-year existence. Robinson was a six-time All-American Football League selection and is credited by many to have redefined the role of the strong safety in professional football. His career was more than spectacular. He was the consummate team player who did whatever it took to help his team win, whether it was on offense, defense, or special teams. His stats do not lie, and his impact on the game is immeasurable. Maybe the voters have yet to induct him due to the inductions of Buck Buchanan, Willie Lanier, and Bobby Bell? It certainly took the voters way too long to induct Thomas. Much as they are taking much too long in Robinsons case. Many fans today don't know much about the AFL. Some may think I am referring to Arena football? It is up to the NFL Seniors Committee to call this to mind while they still can, and while the players are still alive. The Seniors Committee must be woken up and nudged.

Notable 1960 Draftees (* Denotes Hall of Fame Inductee)
1. Billy Cannon, RB, LA Rams
8. Jim Houston, LB, Cleveland
10. Ron Mix, OT, Baltimore Colts *
20. Maxie Baughan, LB, Philadelphia
32. Don Meredith, QB, Chicago
42. Roger Brown, DT, Detroit
44. Jim Marshall, DT, Cleveland
55. Abner Haynes, RB, Pittsburgh
74. Larry Wilson, S, St. Louis Cardinals *
109. Charley Johnson, QB, St. Louis Cardinals
110. Curtis McClinton, RB, LA Rams
119. Bobby Boyd, DB, Baltimore


Anonymous said...

The Seniors Committee must be woken up and nudged.

INDEED! great write up. i especially dig that notables afterwards too!

Lester's Legends said...

Nice job. Hadn't heard of him, but you presented a great case.

nearmint said...

Robinson certainly sounds worthy. I was a Raiders fan back them, and I remember the great battles between the two teams. I was crushed when KC held Oakland--who had won the division--to 7 points and won the AFL championship in the 1969 season. I was only 10, but having watched them so much, I knew they would beat the Vikings in the Super Bowl.

RemembertheAFL said...

Some points you don't make: Larry Wilson, a contemporary of Robinson (BUT he played in the NFL) was inducted as soon as he was eligible. He never played a post-season game. Robinson's stats are virtually identical to Wilson's, AND Robinson has three American Football League Championships and a Super Bowl Championship (a game in which he played with two broken ribs, and had a fumble recovery and an interception). If Robinson had played in the NFL he would have been inducted long ago. His teammates and adversaries have said that he was a better db than recent inductee and teammate Emmitt Thomas.

You talk about NFL bias, yet your list of 1960 draftees perpetuates it.

Billy Cannon was drafted by the Rams, AND the AFL Oilers. He played for the AFL Oilers.

Robinson was drafted by the Lions, AND the AFL Texans. He played for the AFL Texans/Chiefs.

Ron Mix was drafted by the Colts, AND the AFL Boston Patriots. He played for the AFL Chargers.

Abner Haynes was drafted by the Steelers, AND the AFL Texans. He played for the AFL Texans/Chiefs.

Curtis McClinton was drafted by the Rams, AND the AFL Texans. He played for the AFL Texans/Chiefs.

The NFL immediately started the false claim that the early AFL didn't have any good players.